Slow and Steady

We have emerged from what was called a Polar Vortex into what felt like a spring chinook today, with more sunshine and warmth called for tomorrow. Those who do not know could assume that it isn’t necessary to go South this year, that maybe we are through with winter now. The groundhog said an early spring, whatever that may be worth. Some remnant of my ancient nomadic DNA kicks up at this and says, “No, no, you will freeze, starve, shrivel, die, if you do not follow the sun. You should have gone long ago! The seeds in the larder are running low!” Of course, my sensible Swiss ancestry cranks up the thermostat, brews more tea, settles in for the long haul and knows we’ll be just fine, thank the Lord. (P.S. I don’t know whether I have nomadic DNA, but I assume we all share it at some distance.)

I think I know why people quilt in the wintertime. It only requires tiny movements, small efforts that string together to make bedcoverings, where we all want to be on dark days of cold. It’s almost as good as hibernation. (Actually, I can’t stand quilting, for starters because it makes me antsy to hunch over and take small stitches, but also because you can’t do it with a mug in one hand. )

Writing is my version of small movements of creativity which is why I have a goal to do a lot of it this February again. Not every day, but more than I have been. I can set my mug beside me and take reviving sips when I need to think out a phrase. I am a little embarrassed at my coffee consumption these days. Since I trained myself, one painful day at a time, to drink it black, I no longer feel like the calories matter. I am even drinking my tea unsweetened and uncreamed. Early Grey is still better with embellishments, but the discipline has been good for me. I make exceptions for bitter coffee. If the first sip reveals an inferior pedigree, I happily cream it up. And please, I buy Aldi’s coffee beans, so it’s not like I am snobbish. Still, I thought this year I should maybe give up coffee for Lent. I am glad that Jesus has not asked that of me yet.

Like I mentioned, we tend to conserve our motions and lose a lot of our motivation these short days. Occasionally (like yesterday) we rally and do a great big thing like join in on a 4 hog butchering spree. There were five of us families working together, lots of children, babies, toddlers, camaraderie. Cutting the meat off the bones is always the speedy part, as well as grinding and seasoning sausage. About the time everybody is wishing to be done already, there are the more tedious aspects of rendering the lard, cooking the bones to make broth and picking off the cooked bone meat for scrapple. Just when everybody really really wants to call it quits, there are the greasy dishes to be washed and the tired children to round up for the ride home in a sausage scented car.

Last night when we fried sausage patties for a bedtime snack, we were glad we put in the effort. This morning my girls and I fried scrapple and were doubly happy with our work of yesterday. You can buy scrapple, but you don’t really know what’s in it. From all the reports, there’s some weirdness that goes on behind the scrapple making scene similar to the weirdness that goes into hotdogs. We don’t do weirdness in ours, so everybody’s happy.  (If you don’t know what scrapple is, I am sorry for you. Maybe google it. I didn’t have a clue until our family moved to Pennsylvania from Kentucky. Around here, it’s common fare.)

Hey! They tell me spring is right around the corner!! But right now isn’t so bad either. I want to show you a sprinkle of pictures from my phone. This first one is ice crystals that formed on cattail fluff blown across the surface of the pond one day. Gregory took the photo.


The state of the ice is of consuming interest to the small fry. Once it was finally thick enough to be safe, they work to clear it whenever it snows so that we can have skating parties. My children have no notions of hibernation. They get this happy trait from their father. Also, he believes in good gear to stay warm and dry. It certainly helps!




They love skiing so much. I love it too- the idea of it, that is. I love that they do this while Gabe and Alex are patrolling. I love that they get out and enjoy the mountain. I love staying home in the quietness, picking up the yarns and knitting needles, putting away the coloring/painting/snibbling projects, cooking up extra food, planning for the next week. I love that they will have developed better winter muscles as adults than I have because they have so much fun in it.


I have no plan for my writing this month.  I could use a little help here to sharpen me up. Instagram has a questions feature that says, “Ask me anything.” This is your chance, if you would like to do that in the comments. Feel free to be anonymous if you want. I’ll see what I can dredge up.


7 thoughts on “Slow and Steady

  1. I would love to hear, from the perspective of an older but not old mom, about loving but not necessarily liking the little years. Maybe it’s winter blues, maybe it’s nearing the end of my second pregnancy and being so ready and so scared at the same time, but I feel like I have lost the wonder of my daughter and being a mom. I want to whimper some days. I love to go back in your archives and read when your children were little. So tell me how to do the little years well!
    I realize this is a huge assignment and I know I need lots of Jesus etc etc. But really how does one do it well day after day?

  2. So can I ask you to please write every other day if not EVERY day? Ha! I was hoping you’d write like usual the month of Feb….but I don’t want to be too hard on you. I’m open to anything you’d have to say, like recipes, what you’ve been eating, your favorite items from the past year, inspirational thoughts, diys, February calendar ideas for students, anything homeschool related and book suggestions. 🙂 🙂
    I’d be happy for some scrappel (?) myself.
    Looking forward to February’s posts!! 🙂

  3. I haven’t been following your blog long enough to know whether you’ve written your love story… but I’d love to read it. 🙂 And also posts for wives of Medical students….

    1. I did write our love story, actually. If you search for February, 2015, in the archives, you should be able to find those posts. 🙂 Posts for wives of students… wow. Those might be good and even a little scary. I’m heading over to check out your blog. Thanks for linking to it.

  4. I know February is past but I’m still catching up and love reading your recent posts. I enjoy everything you write but one of my favorite features is when you do tutorials on something practical like freezing peas or sewing skorts for little girls. Do one on canning pumpkin or on butchering pigs?
    Also, I really don’t mind when you use affiliate links to tell us about things that make your life easier. For example, I think about you when I use Magic Erasers because I honestly did not know about them until you bragged on them one time. I tried them and was super impressed. Now I wouldn’t know how to deep clean without them- nor how to remove crayon marks from plastic tables and other forbidden places. Another example- just recently I finally broke down and bought a classroom grade electric pencil sharpener. It sparks joy! I remembered you recommended one once upon a time but I didn’t find the link when I was in a hurry looking for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s